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Audi's Convertible SUV Patent Shows The Extent of How Far Automakers are Willing to Go to Exploit the SUV Craze

Audi’s Convertible SUV Patent Shows The Extent of How Far Automakers are Willing to Go to Exploit the SUV Craze

It could be the first drop-top with sizable trunk

The SUV market has expanded at an incredible rate in recent years. From mini crossovers like the Nissan Juke to behemoths like the Cadillac Escalade ESV, you can get them in just about any size. With no room for other niches, some automakers began experimenting with new body styles, including convertible versions. Nissan launched the Murano CrossCabriolet in 2010, and although it didn’t last beyond 2015, the body style returned in 2017 with the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Recent rumors suggest that BMW is working on a drop-top version of the X2, and if these patent images are any indication, Audi is also planning to join this small niche.

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Audi to Ditch "Same Sausage, Different Length" Approach

Audi to Ditch "Same Sausage, Different Length" Approach

Prepare to see Audi get creative with its model designs

Audi is finally ditching the “repetition” design process that it has used over the years in favor of adopting a philosophy that will give each model its own look. The German automaker used the “same sausage, different length” tactic to make the brand more recognizable in emerging markets. Now that Audi has achieved that goal, the company is moving forward with a new styling philosophy that will focus on giving each model its own look.

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Audi R8 to Get the Axe in 2020

Audi R8 to Get the Axe in 2020

Slow sales are killing off Audi’s first supercar ever

It’s been only two months since Audi discontinued the all-electric Audi R8 e-Tron, after only a couple of years on the market, and word has it that the gasoline-powered supercar is also scheduled to get the ax soon. A new report claims that Audi isn’t happy with the supercar’s slow sales and that it’s not planning to develop a replacement for the current model. This means that the R8 will be phased out in 2020, an event that will put an end to Audi’s only supercar to date after 14 years.

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Audi Introduces Exoskeleton Suit in its Production Facilities

Audi Introduces Exoskeleton Suit in its Production Facilities

Experimental suit could be a staple inside Audi’s production plants

It’s not exactly on the level of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits, but Audi’s new wearable exoskeleton could be a preview of what the future looks like for the company’s factory employees. The exoskeleton weighs just 6.6 pounds, and employees can wear them by simply pulling it over their bodies in the same way they do a piece of clothing. According to Audi, the device connects to the hips and covers certain sections of the upper body and the thighs. When worn, employees are said to experience 20 to 30 percent less back strain.

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Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World

Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World

Some surprises and some familiar faces

Determining the value of a car brand can be a tricky exercise. There are so many variables to consider that ultimately, the results may differ from one study or another. What we do know is that, at the very least, the cream always rises to the top. The standings may be different depending on who the author of the study is, but it’s pretty much the same automakers making up a majority of the list.

In this exercise, we’re taking a look at the ten most valuable car brands, at least through the eyes of Interbrand, an independent agency that specializes in determining the world’s most valuable brands. Obviously, such a task involves creating a specific set of formulas and calculations using a variety of available information, including a company’s financial forecast and then using it with its own in-house-developed “role of brand” and “brand strength” calculations. If it sounds complicated, it’s because it is, especially in the current automotive climate where buzz words like “electrification,” “ride-sharing,” and “autonomous driving technology” have staked bigger pieces of influence among automakers of all shapes and sizes.

Even then, there are also certain requirements that each automaker has to meet to be eligible to be included in the list. These requirements include having a sales presence on at least three continents and having a third of a company’s revenue coming from its home market. Ultimately, it all boils down to a lot of tech jargon that’s a little above my head. What I can tell you, though, is that the final list that Interbrand came up with is both expected and revealing. A few notable names made it in predictable spots while a few surprise inclusions definitely raised our eyebrows.

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Audi's New Model Naming Structure Is Now More Confusing

Audi’s New Model Naming Structure Is Now More Confusing

Apparently, a name like "A3 3.0 TDI" isn’t confusing enough

Sometimes the urge to change something for the simple sake of just doing something different doesn’t get the intended result. Audi seems to have fallen into that trap with its new model naming structure. And unfortunately, its vehicle nomenclature is now more confusing than ever.

While traditional model series names won’t be affected by this, the company’s goal in this name overhaul is to do away with using engine size as part of the name and instead using the car’s power output in kilowatts to differentiate itself from other variants of the same model. Take the Audi A3 1.6 TDI for example. Instead of keeping that name, it’s now going to be referred to as the Audi A3 30 TDI because, well, I don’t know. Same thing with the Audi A8 3.0 TDI, which now takes the name A8 50 TDI. Again, how exactly did Audi come up with this? The short answer, apparently, is designating a “number” to classify power ranges in kilowatts. For example, cars that will wear the “30” name produce between 81 kW to 96 kW (108 horsepower to 128 horsepower). These numbers are then staged in increments of five so the next number is 35, which will be used on models with outputs between 110 kW and 120 kW (145 horsepower and 159 horsepower). The numbering system goes on until it reaches “70” for models with more than 400 kW (529 horsepower) on tap. Making things even more confusing is that these new number designations will appear alongside the name of the model and the engine technology that a specific model will be using, hence the name Audi A8 50 TDI. Makes me wonder if Audi thought this one through.

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Audi Sport launches new driving experience at Circuit of The Americas

Audi Sport launches new driving experience at Circuit of The Americas

Learn to master the R8 V10 Plus on a Formula One track!

Audi Sport, the company’s recently founded performance division, launched a new driving experience program in the United States, at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The program is opened to both customers and fans, who can improve their performance driving skills or experience the new Audi Sport models on a full-blown race track.

The event is open year round to drivers of all experience levels (there’s no specific schedule yet, though,) and the Audi Sport driving experience includes hands-on coaching from professional instructors, dynamic car control exercises, cornering techniques, and high-speed lead. Vehicles featured in the Audi driving experience include the all-new RS3 and TT RS, the R8 V10 Plus supercar, as well as the Q7. In addition to all of the above, participants will also enjoy dedicated suites and garages along with catered meals. Let’s have a closer look at what you can do there.

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Audi Exec Calls Audi RS5 Coupe's Published Performance Numbers "Conservative"

Audi Exec Calls Audi RS5 Coupe’s Published Performance Numbers "Conservative"

Turns out, the performance coupe has a faster acceleration time than its rivals from Mercedes-AMG and BMW

We’re well past the halfway point of 2017 and the first half of the year has brought us plenty of exciting cars to look forward to. One new car that hasn’t gotten as much love as it probably deserves is the Audi RS5 Coupe. It was introduced at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and while it had a good run in the spotlight, it hasn’t had the same kind of sustained exposure the German automaker wants. Well, that changes today because Audi Sport’s Head of Technical Development Stephen Reil dropped a juicy bit of information about the sports coupe in an interview with Car Advice. In so many words, Reil is claiming that the RS5 Coupe is even faster than Audi’s own published claims.

Reil specifically singled-out the RS5 Coupe’s acceleration time in the interview. Apparently, the automaker’s claim that the performance coupe can clock in a 0-to-62-mph time is conservative to what it can actually do. According to Reil, the car can actually accelerate from an idle position to 62 mph in “as little as 3.7 seconds under ideal conditions.” Now the caveat of “ideal conditions” will raise some eyebrows, but Reil added that “even under the worst conditions,” it can do its published 3.9-second acceleration time.” This is interesting because if the RS5 Coupe can really do 3.7 seconds going from a full stop position to 62 mph, it will separate itself from its competitors, namely the Mercedes-AMG C63 and the BMW M4, at least as far as this comparison is concerned.

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Audi Relaunches Audi Sport GmbH, As Many As Eight Performance Models Are On Deck

Audi Relaunches Audi Sport GmbH, As Many As Eight Performance Models Are On Deck

Racing division and performance car division will fall under one roof now

Audi’s involvement in endurance racing may have ended with the sudden closure of its Le Mans racing program, but the German automaker isn’t prepared to throw in the towel as far as its participation in motorsports is concerned. In fact, Audis’ other racing endeavors will go on as scheduled under the relaunched Audi Sport GmbH brand, which replaces Quattro GmbH as the go-to division for all of Audi’s performance vehicles and racing activities moving forward.

Former Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann will take charge of Audi Sport GmbH and all of its programs, including the aforementioned motor racing arm, as well as the Audi Exclusive program, Audi sport merchandise, and most importantly, the German automakers very own performance cars.

What this means is that Audi’s present and future performance road cars will now be under the Audi Sport GmbH umbrella. This includes the current lineup of R8 models, the S8 Plus performance models, and the five RS models - RS3 sedan, RS Q3 crossover, RS6 Avant, RS7 Sportback, and TT RS - currently being sold by the brand. The reshuffling itself is big news, one that could lead to future participation among the different programs under Audi Sport GmbH.

What’s also big news, at least pertaining to the performance road car division, is the confirmation that no less than eight new models are being planned for release over the next 18 months. Do the math and that timetable concludes sometime in the middle of 2018. So, between now and then, we can expect to see more performance Audis enter production.

The mystery at this point is what models they’re going to be. One of the most likely candidates is the RS5 coupe, which is due to make its own comeback. Beyond that though, there are a multitude of possibilities, including new versions of existing models or new versions altogether. Is it possible then that current Audi models like the A1, A4, Q2, and Q7 could get their own RS-badged models in the next 18 months?

It’s hard to tell at this point without more concrete details from Audi, but the important thing here is that Audi’s family of performance road cars will grow in the course of the next year and a half under the relaunched Audi Sport GmBh brand.

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Audi Forced to Drop Tech Projects in Aftermath of Dieselgate

Audi Forced to Drop Tech Projects in Aftermath of Dieselgate

Electric powertrains and autonomous tech among the projects put on pause

It doesn’t matter which brand you’re talking about – the Dieselgate scandal has rocked every single branch of the Volkswagen family tree. The latest to take a hit is Audi, as a recent report from Reuters outlines a variety of projects sidelined by the beleaguered automaker in an attempt to cut back on spending.

Citing unnamed sources from within Audi, Reuters says the Four Ring brand is pausing development of a new test track for autonomous vehicle research, as well as stopping construction of new production facilities slated to build upcoming concept cars and batteries for electric vehicles. Audi is also halting projects for its Ingolstadt-based “IN-Campus” technology park.

To make matters worse, Audi’s work council is expressing displeasure with the automaker’s recent efforts to move production beyond German borders, including plans to build all-electric vehicles in Brussels, and plans to build the Q5 SUV in Mexico.

The cutbacks come amid Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to repair its image, with forward-thinking innovations like autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains offered as evidence of the brand’s break from its old, emissions-cheating ways. However, with Audi now sidelining many of its top tech projects, it’s uncertain how long it’ll take for VW to get back in the public’s good graces.

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Audi May Drop its MLB and Mid-Engine Platforms; Audi R8 Could be Discontinued

Audi May Drop its MLB and Mid-Engine Platforms; Audi R8 Could be Discontinued

Raise your hand if you saw all of this coming

Considering the magnitude and the financial repercussions of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, there will always be days when the severity of the mess comes to haunt VW. Well, yesterday was one of those days as multiple reports from Germany have indicated plans that could lead sweeping changes to Audi that could dramatically alter the German brand’s fortunes moving forward.

The big news involves Audi’s home-grown MLB platform, which is responsible for underpinning a number of the brand’s current models, including the A4, A7, and A8. Audi has been using this specific platform in different forms and iterations for years now, but because of the Dieselgate scandal, it might be forced to drop its own platform altogether and resort to “borrowing” other platforms from its sister brands. According to Autocar, the next-generation A4 and A5 sedans will start using Volkswagen’s MQB platform while bigger models like the Audi A6 and A7 will be integrated into Porsche’s MSB platform, which the company currently uses on the Porsche Panamera. While these changes are unlikely to make any big differences in the big picture, the same, somewhat heartbreakingly, cannot be said for the Audi R8.

Yes, the R8 is reportedly in trouble. The supercar’s specific mid-engine platform is also likely to get scrapped and there’s a chance that the R8 itself could go with it. Let that sink in. The Audi R8, one of the most popular supercars in the market today, could be an unwitting victim of the Dieselgate scandal. The chickens are coming home to roost. The cancellation of the R8’s platform also raises questions on the future of the Lamborghini Huracán, which also uses the same platform as the R8.

Just like that, Audi is now in turmoil and appears to be paying for the sins committed by its parent company, so much so that according to German business magazine Der Spiegel, no less than Audi chief Rupert Stadler himself reportedly told the company’s staff that “all future investments” are “under scrutiny.”

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Audi's First Production Series EV to be called the "E-Tron"

Audi’s First Production Series EV to be called the "E-Tron"

Hybrid models will also use the name

German automaker Audi has confirmed that its future series production electric cars will use the name "e-tron." The news comes straight from Audi chairman Rupert Stadler, who added that the moniker will be carried without any specific model designation.

"It is comparable to the first Audi quattro, which was known simply as the quattro," Stadler said according to Autocar, adding that "in the long term the name e-tron will stand for a pure electric driveline structure."

On the other hand, he said that regular models will continue to use the e-tron name. Audi currently offers e-tron versions of the Q7 SUV and A3 Sportback five-door, but these have hybrid drivetrains that combine conventional engines and electric motors. As you may recall, the German brand pulled the plug on the R8 e-tron, the only e-tron with a pure electric drivetrain, after less than two years on the market and less than 100 units built.

Stadler confirmed once again that the first vehicle to wear the "e-tron" badge will be an SUV based on the e-tron quattro concept that was showcased at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The battery-powered people hauler will be followed by a small hatchback and a sedan by the end of the 2020.

At the same time, he said that Audi is working on a premium electric sedan aimed at the Tesla Model S: "I do believe that it makes sense for the Audi brand to be positioned in the top premium segment with this drivelinetechnology." Although a name has yet to be confirmed, it could be called the A8 e-tron.

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